• The Guardian (UK): Saudis consider nuclear bomb — I haven’t seen this in the American press but if it is true then we’re in for an even more unstable Middle East. I so wish the US was out of Iraq by now. I’m very afraid things are going to get a lot worse.

  • Atlanta Creative Loafing: Why the (un)PATRIOT Act? — It’s all part of the bloody agenda for the Bush empire – A pointed op-ed piece about the experiences of political assylees in this country and the lies of the Ashcroft pro-patriot act dog & pony show.

  • NY Times: Reclaiming the Stolen Faces of Their Forefathers

      A local newspaper column last year suggested that the Namgis, a small band of Native Canadians in British Columbia, ought to go to London and steal the Crown Jewels to get some bargaining leverage over the British Museum.

      The half facetious idea came after the group had tried diplomacy for several years to get back a beloved wooden mask stolen from them 82 years ago that is now boxed up in a storage room of the museum.

      But the British Museum believes it knows best how to preserve the ceremonial mask for scholarly study.

      “There is a legal duty for us to hold these things in trust and make them available to scholars and put them on display,” said Stephen Corri, deputy secretary of the museum, in a telephone interview. . .

    I think the Namgis should make off with the crown jewels. It certainly would be fair.

  • Austin Chronicle: The Wal-Mart War — Can Austin Fight Back?

      . . . One of the local (or at least semilocal) businesses threatened by Wal-Mart — San Antonio-based HEB — has won some staunch defenders since Wal-Mart Supercenters came to town. (Supercenters differ from regular Wal-Marts in having a full supermarket, since Wal-Mart says the only way it could possibly grow bigger is to take over the grocery business.) HEB spokeswoman Kate Rogers says the company hopes to continue building on that loyalty. “Wal-Mart is a very serious competitor. … It’s the larger grocer in the country,” Rogers said. “But we’ve built our platform on being a neighborhood store. … We’ve really worked hard with neighborhood groups wherever we’ve built our stores, and I think that’s proved to be effective.”

      HEB also won points a few years back for building the first retail project over the aquifer (on William Cannon) to comply with the Save Our Springs Ordinance. However, HEB is also eyeing a piece of property not far from Wal-Mart’s proposed MoPac-Slaughter location. Acknowledging that location could generate opposition, Rogers was quick to point out that the site has far fewer “critical environmental features” (in SOS-speak) than Endeavor’s Wal-Mart site and that HEB would require far less impervious cover.

      Even if HEB does encounter hostility, it would likely be a whimper compared to the bang that’s bouncing off Wal-Mart. The anti-big-box forces got some emotional and financial reinforcement last week with a benefit screening of the documentary Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town. The anti-big-box forces got some emotional and financial reinforcement last week with a benefit screening of the documentary Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town. Afterward, political humorist and author Jim Hightower encouraged the crowd to take action: “The fundamental question is, whose community is it? Does it belong to [Wal-Mart] or is it ours? Do we have the right to say we want our community to have a certain ambience, a certain economic possibility, a certain balance, a certain beauty? Wal-Mart says no. They say, ‘We have the right to go anywhere in the world and re-create any neighborhood, any town, any city, in our image.’

      “And now here they come to Austin, Texas,” Hightower concluded. “Well, we do not have to take a Wal-Mart. They’ve got the fat cats, but we’ve got the alley cats. There are many more of us than there are of them.”